Tue., July 23, 2019– Belize has some of the most interesting politics in this region, hemisphere, and I dare say, the world. Although we have adopted and/or emulated (depend on how you see it) some of the most developed political systems, they seem to be very ineffective when applied within these 8867 sq. miles.
So what happens when political systems attempt to use policies and procedures from modern states in a developing country with a changing society? You end up with a cesspool of opportunistic politicians, a host of failed or abandoned projects and a population that widely distrusts the political system but are too handicapped intellectually and financially to incite any actionable change.
A mouthful, I know. Is this a natural phenomenon in countries like ours? Apart from the exceptions, it seems that almost all postcolonial governments have had an agenda to enrich a selected group of people and consolidate political power within and among those groups; for the most part it has been that method or a military dictator here or there taking over after a while.
One primary social group that has engaged in this activity of power consolidation has been the family. This can be seen explicitly in our little Belize; if we didn’t know better we would think that becoming a statesman is hereditary, like a family trade in monarchal times.
Family loyalty and political fealty are interchangeable concepts in our political system. You can almost always be absolutely sure that the son or daughter of an official in a political party will be a main player in the campaign or any political activity that could result in the success of the father, or vice versa, even if they disagree with certain positions or points of view — it’s driven by purely blind allegiance.
Though this can be considered as simple human instinct to support one’s own clan, in developed political systems it is important for the population to cling to values and objectives that go far beyond the family, values and objectives that will be to the benefit of the nation-state and not solely the individual — values and objectives that result in the awakening of new social consciousness that will gear its focus on nationalism and not clanism.
I think that it is clear that Belize is far, and I mean light-years away, from making these foundational changes to our mindsets. This is so because the educational and familial oligarchy that control this country, and that maintain power (regardless of party), has continued to use old methods of oppression: divide and conquer, lack of education, miseducation and the non-access to resources to keep the wider population weak, ignorant and asset-less. This is not by mistake; this is a thoroughly calculated science that the players in our political oligarchy have mastered.
However, there comes a time that the people of countries like our Belize start to see the blatant corruption, disrespect and disingenuousness of the ones in power. To achieve political development, certain fundamental shifts have to occur in the minds of the people; the people have to reach a point where it’s obvious that they will lose everything if they decide to sit when it is the time to stand.
Has your time to stand arrived yet?